As you’ll hear in our video, State Rep. and Sen.-elect Sharon Nelson says this is a day she has awaited for 13 years – a day bringing real hope that a section of industrial-company-owned shoreline on her home island, Maury, will be preserved forever.
She, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and dozens of other state and King County leaders, environmental advocates, and Maury/Vashon residents gathered on the Beach Drive shore across from Me-Kwa-Mooks, with the islands visible to the southwest, to formally announce a deal to purchase that mile of shoreline, and 250 adjacent acres of madrone forest. What’s currently been compiled includes $15 million in state money and $19 million in county money – with about $2 million that will have to be raised from other sources to close the deal by year’s end. The land has been the subject of controversy in recent years, with environmental advocates and nearby residents trying to stop it from being mined. The site holds importance for the ecology of all of Puget Sound, say supporters – West Seattleite Donna Sandstrom of The Whale Trail was at the announcement and told us, “It’s a great day for the whales” – the orcas about whom her group seeks to educate. And for Puget Sound salmon, as underscored by the giant prop brought by the Vashon-based Backbone Campaign:
(You might remember Backbone for the “flash mob” video protest inside West Seattle’s Target store.) According to the county’s announcement, the site is adjacent to the 320-acre Maury Island Marine Park already owned by the county. Opening the news conference, Constantine made a point of saying that the $19 million the county would advance for the $36 million purchase is from the King County Conservation Futures Fund, and that state law says that money can only be used for open-space or resource-land purchases.
The private fundraising work begins now, with various groups involved, and donations being taken at www.cascadeland.org. (Thursday PS: Here’s the official county news release with yet more details.)
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